California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all bars, indoor restaurant operations and movie theaters to shut down immediately in most parts of the state as coronavirus cases continue to spike.
Newsom announced the revised stay-at-home order on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after California bars, stores, restaurants and salons reopened for the first time after a three-month lockdown.
Since then, the number of COVID-19 cases have begun to rise again, increasing nearly 50 per cent over the last two weeks, with a 43 per cent spike in hospitalizations.
As of Monday, there were 222,917 confirmed cases in the state and 5,980 deaths, according to state’s public health department.
The shutdown, which will last for at least three weeks, applies to 19 counties where nearly three-quarters of the state’s roughly 40 million population lives – including Los Angeles County.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the shutdown on Wednesday, days after imposing a statewide order requiring all residents to wear masks in most public places
Under the new measure, restaurants are permitted to continue with outdoor dining service but must shut down indoor operations.
It also applies to other indoor business operations including museums, entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, and cardrooms.
Newsom had closed bars in seven counties on Sunday but Wednesday’s order extends across the state.
‘This doesn’t mean restaurants are shut down,’ Newsom said in a press conference.
‘It means that we’re trying to take the activities, as many activities as we can – these mixed activities, these concentrated activities – and move them outdoors, which is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus.’
He added: ‘The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning.’
It marks the latest coronavirus measure imposed in the California in recent weeks and follows Newsom’s statewide order requiring all residents to wear masks or protective face coverings in most public areas.
California has joined a small but growing list of states that have been forced to roll back reopening plans after cases began to spike again.
Under the new measure, restaurants are permitted to continue with outdoor dining service but must shut down indoor operations
California has joined a small but growing list of states that have been forced to rollback reopening plans amid a troubling surge in coronavirus cases
COVID-19 cases have begun spike again in California, increasing nearly 50 per cent over the last two weeks
CALIFORNIA SHUTS DOWN 19 COUNTIES
- Contra Costa
- Los Angeles
- San Bernardino
- San Joaquin
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
Texas and Florida, which were among the first states to begin reopening after a three-month lockdown, closed bars for a second time last week after seeing record highs in the number of infections.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert earlier this week warned that gathering at indoor bars was one of the most dangerous activities Americans could do.
The order came just days ahead of what was expected to be a busy Fourth of July weekend for the state, sparking fears people would gather in mass for celebrations.
Newsom did not order beaches to close, but said parking lots at all beaches in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area would close to limit crowds.
State parks – which include some beaches – will remain open, but with measures in place to reduce overcrowding.
Newsom said the new business closure order applies to counties that have been on the state’s monitoring list because of increasing coronavirus cases for three consecutive days: Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Ventura.
But enforcing the new rules will be difficult, Newsom said.
He said seven state agencies with regulatory authority would target non-compliant businesses, including the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Highway Patrol.
The order applies to 19 counties, where nearly three-quarters of the state’s 40 million population lives, including Los Angeles County
COVID-19 cases across the US increased by 46 percent in the week ending June 28, compared to the previous seven days, with the majority of rises occurring in the West and South of the country
And he suggested that state officials would first try to convince non-compliant businesses to cooperate instead of penalizing them.
‘It’s more education. I’m not coming out with a fist. We want not come out with an open heart, recognizing the magnitude of some of these modifications,’ Newsom said.
Many local California governments have delayed reopening or have imposed extra restrictions as cases rose.
Officials in Los Angeles County closed beaches for the Fourth of July weekend before Newsom announced his restrictions and Fresno County in the state’s Central Valley agricultural heartland had already ordered all bars to close.
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